Portland Connects with Sister City Guadalajara on Both Sides of the Border
THURSDAY, AUG. 28, 2014 — Mayor Charlie Hales this week talked livable cities with a delegation of business and government officials visiting from Guadalajara, Mexico — less than a week after Portland Fire & Rescue made its own splash in the sister city.
Since 1983, Portland has maintained the sister city relationship with Guadalajara through cultural, educational and economic exchanges. The delegation’s trip to Portland lays the groundwork for stronger ties — e.g. a new air service scheduled to start in October. Volaris Airlines will provide a direct air service between the two cities.
This week the delegation — including officials from the city, as well as from the state of Jalisco and from businesses such as Mundo Cuervo, the distillery that makes Jose Cuervo — toured Portland’s sustainable features and met with local businesses. The group was interested in learning about Portland’s best practices to advance the livable city movement.
“These relationships are so important,” Mayor Hales said. “Maintaining ties for over three decades makes both cities richer in culture, trade and education.”
Portland in Guadalajara
Last week, Portland’s presence was felt in Guadalajara: The city accepted a fire engine and a ladder truck from Portland Fire & Rescue, the third such donation since 1999. Guadalajara Director of International Relations Mario Reynoso via Twitter thanked the city for its donation, which arrived Aug. 22, Mexico’s National Firefighters Day.
The mayor and City Council approved the donation in November 2013, but there was nine months of international red tape to work through before the trucks could be delivered to Guadalajara.
Before Portland Fire started training and equipment donation with Guadalajara 15 years ago, the city had four stations serving 1.5 million people; Portland has 30 stations for 600,000 people. Now Guadalajara has 17 stations across the city, allowing firefighters to respond to calls within 5 minutes instead of up to 45 minutes.
“This makes a huge difference for them,” said Portland Fire & Rescue Lt. Joe Troncosso. “The only way to keep those stations is with equipment.
“These trucks started on the front lines here; then they were back-up; then they sat unused in the lot. Now, they’re back on the front lines again, doing what they’re supposed to: save lives.”